Table saw Fence needed, which one to get for old Crafstman saw?

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Forum topic by bues0022 posted 10-09-2009 12:37 AM 7597 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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249 posts in 3155 days

10-09-2009 12:37 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

I’m in the process of restoring my old 50’s vintage Craftsman table saw. I’m a bit of a novice and don’t have much experience on different tools, so I’m hoping to get some recommendations on which fence and miter gauge (did I use correct terminology on this?) to get. Here’s what I know…..I’ve used another older Craftsman TS, and this is all I have ever used. This particular fence I have to measure the front and back of the blade to ensure it’s actually square. It’s kinda annoying, but this is where I come from. I’d like something a bit nicer that I can be sure is actually square when I set it. A nice ruler would be a bonus also. Not sure on the rail length, but all I’m going to have on the saw is the stock wings, so nothing really long. I’d like to try to keep it under $200 if possible. Basically, I’m looking to get the best bang for my buck and not break the bank. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

27 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 10-09-2009 12:46 AM

Unless it has sentimental meaning to you I would replace the whole saw because a fence will cost more than the saw is worth. If this is an option I would take a look at grizzly saws.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bues0022's profile


249 posts in 3155 days

#2 posted 10-09-2009 01:06 AM

I went back and forth for some time to sell this one and get a new one, but this saw has cast iron extensions, cast top, and a good 3/4 horsepower motor.

In any case, I’m too deep in at this point to turn around and buy new. I’ve seen some people on here with some after market fences that seemed pretty decent, but can’t find them right now. Hopefully some that have put after market fences on their saws can comment on things the like/dislike so I can learn more and make a better purchase.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#3 posted 10-09-2009 01:07 AM

I have to agree with Jim. I know the process that you going through to get a good cut. I followed the same routine on my Craftsman saw for over 10 years until I just got tired of it and upgraded to a new saw in April. I don’t know how many times I have kicked myself in the ensuing 6 month time frame for not doing it sooner.

But if you are set on keeping the saw Jamie has blogged the process that he used to install a Delta T2 fence on his 50’s Craftsman saw. The fence runs just under $200 from This fence is essentially a biesemeyer clone and a number of members on board here have upgraded their Craftsman saws with this fence. It used to be sold at Lowe’s but their website does not list it anymore. If you have a Lowe’s retail store nearby they may have some stocked on the shelves.

The miter gauge is another add-on. I have the Incra 1000SE and it suits me just fine. Another good one is the Osborne miter gauge, which will run close to $150.

Whatever decision that you make it will be the right one. The weakest part of the Craftsman saw is the fence. Replacing it should alleviate some of your headaches that come from using the saw.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3195 days

#4 posted 10-09-2009 01:23 AM
This is mine with a Grizzly Shop Fox fence. I love it and it works dead accurate. I did have to drill and tap the top, but hey yea, thats the fun. I also upgraded the motor and added link belt and machined pulleys. Quiet as a mouse and accurate as hell.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3608 days

#5 posted 10-09-2009 03:30 AM

Yeah, this comes up over and over again. A few facts for ya…

1. If you have an old Craftsman 50’s saw, 10”, belt drive, cast iron – there is nothing wrong with these saws. They were made by Emerson.
2. Before they went to granite tops, the best rated contractor’s saw being sold was the Ridgid 3650, 3660. They were made by (drum roll please…) Emerson.
3. On the web you can find pictures of the bottom of the saw table and trunnions for both the old-style Craftsman saws and the newer, highly rated Ridgid 3650 or 3660 saws. Compare – THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!
4. The biggest difference between old Craftsman saws and the Ridgid 3650, 3660 saws is the fence. Ridgid just spent the time to design a better fence.

Currently, I am running a 60-70’s era Craftsman saw with a Ridgid AC1036 fence. See it here. Works like a champ for me. I use the rule on the fence constantly and never remeasure it before cutting. Unfortunately, the AC1036 no longer seems to be made. The equivalent was sold by Sears for a while as the Align-a-rip 2412 – same design, probably bought from Ridgid by Sears. Unfortunately, it no longer seems to be sold by Sears. You may find either on the bay. Highly recommended.

The Delta T2 has been installed on older Craftsman saws with a lot of success. Search for it here on LJ’s. You can buy it brand-new for under $200. I am not a big fan of the Beisemeyer design, but it is worlds better than the original Craftsman design.

Now, you can listen to others here tell you that you have to spend $600-$1000 for a new saw to fix all your problems but truth is that old Craftsman is a fine saw except for the fence. You can bring it up to snuff for a lot less than a new saw (less than $200 in my case) and it will probably last another 50-75 years.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View danL's profile


4 posts in 3474 days

#6 posted 10-09-2009 03:55 AM

I too have a craftsman ts been there done that with the old craftsman fence. 2 years ago i replaced it with a delta t2 I love it amazon has them on sale now for about $185.00 I’m sure you will be pleased with it.You will have to drill some holes for the rails.It took me less then a hour to have it up in running. hope this helps you

-- Dan, New Hampshire

View bues0022's profile


249 posts in 3155 days

#7 posted 10-09-2009 03:55 PM

Thanks for all the good information! Is there any functional differences between the different fences that I should be aware of? Something I might like but just don’t know about? Something that would be annoying? Keep in muns what I’ve used…I’ve seen some fences that lock down both front and back (vega I think?) this seems like it might be cumbersome. I’ve seen good things here about the delta T2, but how much does one “pay for the name” on these things?

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3371 days

#8 posted 10-09-2009 06:45 PM

The Vega is a front locker similar to the other T-square designs, but it uses a cylindrical front rail vs a square or rectangular tube . It does have a rear hook to prevent lifting of the tail, but not a rear clamping device. The T2 is a great bang for the buck. The Vega can be when it’s on sale. The Biese is excellent but can be very expensive. The Jet Exacta II, HTC, and Shop Fox Classic fences are similar to the Biese Commercial fence.

For functional differences, be aware that the advantage of a good steel t-square type front lockers in general is how simple and goof proof the system is. Once dialed in, they have very dependable parallelism to the blade, and are very easy to use. Also be aware that the front lockers will show more movement if you yank on the tail end of that long lever, a pointless test that some like to perform….the real world lateral forces are just in front of the blade. If you apply pressure at that point, you should have no noticeable movement. The dual locking fences won’t move if you yank the tail end, but are less dependable about locking down parallel to the blade. Most of the steel Biese type fences have a fairly similar design, but some of the newer ones do offer some updates.

Note that the Mule Cab Accusquare and the Shop Fox original heavy duty fence (not the SF Classic or Aluma Classic) need to slide to the end of the rails to be removed. Most of the others just lift off easily.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View bues0022's profile


249 posts in 3155 days

#9 posted 10-27-2009 10:40 PM

So, I’ve been doing a lot more research on fence and rail systems, and I think I’m able to ask more intelligent questions now.

I have the following on my list:

Shop Fox Classic (224)
Vega pro 40 (261)
Mule Aquasquare M1040 (179)

Shop Fox Aluma-Classic (190 plus shipping)
Delta T2 (149)

The numbers in parantheses are the cheapest prices I could find online, including shipping.

Now, I have separated my list of 5 fences into 2 categories based on the length of the rail. The first three appear to be able to rip 40” to the Right. The last two rip 30 inches to the right. Is the longer length something that is really important? I know in the past I have had problems cutting up 4×8 sheets of plywood because the rail was too short (older craftsman saw). Is the 40” to the right just excessive though for my work? I don’t usually make a habit of doing large projects, but it is nice to buy large pieces of plywood instead of those little chunks.

I’m leaning towards the Mule M1040 because it seems to have a really good “bang for the buck”, but no rear rail concerns me slightly – mainly because I’m a bit ignorant and don’t know what (if any) problems this may occur.

The Delta I hear will take a large amount of drilling (I’m ok with that though), but is only 30 inches to the right limiting myself?

Is there anything with any of these that I potentially WOULDN’T like? I know I’ve read people that have liked all of them, so I doubt it, but I since I am a newbie I want to hear more from people more in the know.

I’m also trying to keep costs down, so the Vega will take some convincing that it is that much better than another option to justify the cost. As always, thanks again for the help.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View SteveMI's profile


1094 posts in 3289 days

#10 posted 10-27-2009 11:08 PM

You may want to check you local craigslist for table saws with one of the better fences. I just purchased a craftsman/emerson that came with the aligna-rip for under $100. Depending if you have storage room, you may be able to get a complete saw with fence and end up with plenty of spare parts. I missed a craftsman/emerson with a high end fence for $250 and some dado blades by couple hours.

Just another idea if budget overrides one of the options.

As eengineer said, these older emerson (113 craftsman) are very viable.


View bues0022's profile


249 posts in 3155 days

#11 posted 10-28-2009 04:24 AM

I’ve checked on craigslist for some time, that was part of the reason for my refurbishing the old saw – I couldn’t find anything decent in the area.

I’ve got 5 choices, so I think I’m going to do the “A or B” eye doctor thing.

Shop Fox Aluma or Delta T2??

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View bues0022's profile


249 posts in 3155 days

#12 posted 10-28-2009 04:23 PM

Perhaps to answer my previous question I should ask this one…..does it really matter that much on material? Aluminum vs. steel? I’m actually leaning towards the Mule M1040 because I can get it the length I think I want, and a good price of it also.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3658 days

#13 posted 10-28-2009 05:19 PM

I went with the ShopFox (the one UnionLabel suggested).

I looked at the Mule M1040 (I have their miter gauge fence and it is A-OK), but decided on the ShopFox anyway … I just like the weight and feel of steel over aluminum.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Gary's profile


1288 posts in 4319 days

#14 posted 10-28-2009 05:35 PM

My $.02:

Several years ago Sears was selling a Beisemeyer (sp?) clone upgrade fence for $75.00; I got one on sale for $15.00 and it works wonderfully.
An older Emerson Electric Craftsman branded TS has the same trunion and other major components as
the new Ridgid TS’s sold for about $500.00—the parts have the same ID #s cast onto them.
There’s nothing wrong with these older saws except maybe an underpowered motor for hard maple and/or oak.


-- Gary, Florida

View bues0022's profile


249 posts in 3155 days

#15 posted 10-28-2009 06:24 PM

I do like the shop fox fence, but also like the micro adjust on the Vega. Do guys really use that? Also, is the extra rail length really worth the extra money (30” vs 40” to the right)? I also have a small shop – for now – and don’t know if the length will be too much of a pain in the butt, or if it will be really useful later on, moving in 8 months.

-- Ryan -- Bristow, VA

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